How I Became the Coolest Teacher Ever

Okay, don’t worry. I’m not one of those “I want to be my students’ best friend” teachers. Not at all. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about fun hands-on learning. 🙂

I’m piloting the Lucy Calkins writing program for my grade level, and I have mixed feelings about it (but that’s a different post). Right now we’re working on informational writing. Basically, they do an experiment and create a lab report. It’s been a lot of fun, actually. I was a little wary of it, but my kids are LOVING it. BUT this week was the most fun and engaging experiment yet.

They made catapults and then asked the question “What goes further, a ping pong ball or a cotton ball?”

First, they made their catapults.



I LOVED the teamwork. 🙂


Then, they got into their groups and wrote down their procedures.



Then, they started their experiments.


They were SO into it. Listening to their conversations was awesome. “Make sure you line it up!” “Okay, go measure it. Make sure you’re exact!” It was great.


They did a great job, but that’s NOT why I’m the coolest teacher ever. After we conducted our experiments and they did such a great job writing down their results and discussing their findings, I told them I had a surprise for them at the end of the day.


When they came back from their special, this is what they saw. 😉


They each got a turn to try to hit the target. They had a blast, and I’m pretty sure they all went home and made catapults this weekend.

These are the experiences that our kids will remember. They won’t remember their standardized tests, but they will remember those great, hands on learning experiences. 🙂

Primary Paradise Signature


Primary Paradise

Primary Paradise

I have always had a passion for teaching and sharing with others and look forward to sharing my ideas with you!


  • Rachel
    February 2, 2014 9:46 am

    I <3 <3 <3 this!!!! How were the catapults made?

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 2, 2014 7:05 pm

      Hi Rachel- We used a rhombus shape taped to a plastic spoon. Then we rubber banded that to the ruler and taped it together with masking tape. 🙂

  • Hilary Gard
    February 2, 2014 10:01 am

    Looks like a lot of fun!
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  • Dorit battaglia
    February 2, 2014 10:22 am

    This is great! Are these experiments in a tpt packet? Thanks

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 2, 2014 7:04 pm

      Dorit- They are part of the Lucy Calkin’s writing series for common core in second grade, but are super simple. 🙂

  • Kathy
    February 2, 2014 10:57 am

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. I will do this with my second graders…great for our Force & Motion unit in science. Kathy

  • Sebrina Burke
    February 2, 2014 12:24 pm

    This is a wonderful post. I am sharing it with our science teachers. How cool is that to combine writing with science this way! I have been wondering about Lucy’s writing program for awhile, so curious to read a post about it. Thank you for sharing!

    Burke’s Special Kids

  • Pam
    April 20, 2014 1:18 pm

    We started using Lucy Caulkins this year too and did the catapult experiment too! I like the way you made your catapults. No need to drill a hole like how the book tells us to do it. The target idea is also very cool too. Will definitely use it next year! Thanks! 🙂

    Diary of a Second Grade Teacher

  • Kauntessa Wyatt
    April 27, 2014 7:19 pm

    Thanks for the post, had no idea how we were going to put our catapults together! Also using things we already have available.

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      April 28, 2014 7:35 am

      That’s what we had to do to. I used the materials I had. It was definitely a little unclear in the book. Thanks for the comment!

  • craftofteaching1
    January 19, 2015 5:25 pm

    Love it! Looks like a great lesson incorporating writing and science. And there’s nothing better than being the coolest teacher ever!!!


  • Erika H
    March 8, 2015 4:46 pm

    I teach first grade and our next writing unit is teaching the students how to write lab reports! Can you post samples of yours so I get an idea on how to do this. Thanks!!

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